Sociology, MA


Each course in the Sociology MA program is designed and taught by experienced faculty who are trained in the area and have considerable expertise in delivering high-quality online education. 

The Online Master’s in Sociology requires a total of 30 credit hours, including 4 core courses (SOC 585, SOC 500, SOC 501, SOC 598 Diversity), 3 Structured Topic Courses, and 3 capstone courses.

Fall and Spring courses are 7.5 weeks long and summer courses are 6 weeks long.

The table below indicates when these SOC MA courses are offered (note that only capstone courses are offered more than one time per year):

Course Number/NameWhen Course is Offered
SOC 585 Sociological Theory (3 hours)Fall A
SOC 598 Structured Topic (e.g., Leadership and Social Justice, 3 hours)Fall A
SOC 500 Research Methods (3 hours)Fall B
SOC 598 Structured Topic (e.g., Marriage and Family Relationships, 3 hours)Spring A
SOC 501 Social Science Statistics (3 hours)Spring B
SOC 598 Diversity and Society (3 hours)Summer A
SOC 598 Structured Topic (e.g., Social Change, 3 hours)Summer B
Culminating Experience/Capstone Courses (9 hours)
          SOC 586 Capstone Project I (3 hours)Fall B, Spring B
          SOC 587 Capstone Project II (3 hours)Spring A, Summer B
          SOC 588 Capstone Project III (3 hours)Fall B, Spring B, Summer B

View brief descriptions of SOC MA courses.

Sample Course Plan

Below is an example of a course plan for a student beginning the program in Fall. Students can choose to follow an accelerated course plan (2-3 courses per semester) or an extended course plan (1 course per session). Course availability and financial aid requirements can influence a course plan; therefore, it is important that students work closely with the Sanford School program advisor to develop and follow an appropriate course plan. Structured course topics (courses for which topics may vary) are indicated by * in the course plan below. If you are a current student with course plan questions, please e-mail If you are a prospective student with course plan questions, please e-mail

Sample course plan for students beginning in Fall:

Fall AFall BSpring ASpring BSummer ASummer B
Year 1SOC 585SOC 500
SOC 586
SOC 598*SOC 501SOC 598 DiversitySOC 598*
SOC 587
Year 2SOC 598*SOC 588

Capstone Courses and Culminating Experience

The Online Master's degree in Sociology includes three capstone courses that must be taken in sequence, ending with a non-thesis, applied culminating experience. Each part of the Capstone experience allows for some customization to fit individual students' professional and academic needs and interests. Ultimately, this culminating experience will provide students with a deeper understanding of sociological concepts, as well as professional competencies and insights.

The capstone experience consists of the following parts:

  • Capstone Project Part I: Professional Development. Capstone Project I allows students to explore and begin to specify their professional goals and means of obtaining those goals. This process of professional exploration and goal specification will help ensure that, together, the student and student's capstone instructor can craft personalized Capstone Projects and experiences that maximize the student's potential of obtaining their goals.
  • Capstone Project Part II: Exploration/Specialization. Capstone Project II allows students to delve into their area(s) of interest, developing a greater depth and understanding of topics that influence children, youth, and families, and that further the student's academic and professional goals. Students develop and enhance their writing, research, and presentation skills through various assignments.
  • Capstone Project Part III: Application. Capstone Project III is the culminating experience for the master's program and is taken in a student's last session of the program. This is the point at which students apply what they have learned through their coursework. Once again, the emphasis is on a personalized and useful experience for the students. In consultation with a capstone instructor, the student will fashion a field experience plan that allows the student to gain real-world experience related to sociology. Activities that fulfill the field experience requirement are vast and varied, often limited only by a student's creativity.